love: chapter one

One year ago tomorrow, at 3 in the afternoon, the phone rang and changed our lives. I had just returned from lunch with Lorraine, sharing one of my very favorite things in the world…pink butter on yeasty rolls at Neiman Marcus Cafe. I had put the phone squarely on the table, apologizing for the rudeness of it all but explaining that the phone might ring and change my life.

“Amy, we have an 11-month baby who needs care. He has a broken arm. We’ll need you to get him tonight. What do you think?”

“Let me call Rich”

“Rich, I just got the call. It’s a little baby with a broken arm.”



“Yes, okay”

Me, calling back the agency… “Okay”

I hung up the phone and immediately left for Target to buy anything and everything I thought we might need for the first few nights. Pajamas, diapers…but what size??? Car seat…”Excuse me, can a 11-month baby use this car seat? Do you have a baby? What kind of car seat do you like? Are these 20 car seats the only ones they have here?” Sippy cups, bottles. Baby cereal…surely he eats baby cereal. Don’t they all?

The bill comes to something like $700. It doesn’t matter. I was in and out in less than an hour.

Rich comes home and we meet at the agency’s office. But now we have to go to the hospital in D.C. to pick him up. The car seat is still in the box and we don’t have a clue about how to fix it in the car.

We get lost…two social workers, Rich, me, and the car seat, on the way to pick up the baby.

When we finally arrive to the hospital, we rush up to the room. My heart is beating so fast.

And then we get to his room. The CPS worker and a hospital social worker are there talking. And there he is, sitting in a cage-like crib, looking around like a scared little bird.

My very first thought when I saw him was “Oh my goodness, look at all that hair!”

He looked so scared.

“Can I hold him?”

“Yes, of course”

Then we noticed that he was trying to tell us something. “G…g” We asked the others. No, they said, he doesn’t talk. Still, he insisted “G….g” “G…g” Everytime we looked at his face, he said it.

Finally, we realized it. He was hungry. Starving, really. Hours had past, it was 11 pm before we finally got the discharge papers.

I remember holding him and feeding him a bottle thinking “How in the world do people do this?” The muscles in my arms started burning and I realized that I couldn’t possibly hold him and walk and feed him at the same time.

I think it took a whole hour for the social workers and Rich to put the car seat in the car. And when they finally did, the social worker driving, first week on the job, backs her new car into a pillar in the parking garage. “Everybody be quiet” she says. The baby, so scared and wearing just a hospital gown in January, is wailing.

We got home after midnight.

And in the midst of all of that, we fell in love. Our little bird with a broken wing, so scared and sweet. We fell in love that night.

31 observations on “love: chapter one
  1. sweetpeaink

    Amy, you are truly an Angel from above. You are changing this little one’s life forever. I’m sending my prayers, well wishes and love for the little one your way.

  2. Doreen

    Oh Amy. You are an Angel on Earth! You and Rich are amazing. Thank you for this sweet story. I so needed it today. My 2 year old is being such a … well, 2 year old. I’ve lost my patience with him twice this morning already and I came in to my office to look for a friend’s phone number to call her to see how she survived the 2’s and I went to your blog and found your beautiful story. Thank you. I have a little more perspective now. I have to remind myself that I am so blessed. Bronchitis and all!

  3. Julie Jacobs

    Amy, Thank you for this beautiful story. As a former social worker here in Boston, I’m all too familiar with the scary worlds of these sweet babies, but I’ve also seen the beautiful outcomes when people like yourself come forward and bless a child’s life forever. The world is a better place because of you and your husband’s decision. By the way, you are also a very creative and inspiring person. Happy New Year! Julie

  4. Mary

    I’m so glad you shared this story! My little lucy was just a few weeks old when you brought your Baby home… the last few days have been pretty hard (this morning we found out that we’re dealing with our first ear infection :( ) so, tuesday (when i was wondering why MY baby was screaming!) i went back and read all your cute posts about baby– like the previous poster said, it really offered perspective when i was feeling at wit’s end! thank you so much! have a WONDER-FULL time in california!

  5. Claudia

    Bless you, Amy. Your story has moved me from the very beginning. You and your husband are wonderful, giving, unselfish people and your time with Baby will help him for the rest of his life. I wish you the best as you go to California and also in the future – it seems another little one is on the way!

  6. sassy studio

    Oh Amy, your love stories of baby always make me cry. You are an angel of love…your aura must be among the brightest! (did you see Oprah yeserday? it was about a man who survived a plane crash and watched many people parish. He said he could see the glow/aura/light leaving the bodies some bright others not so bright, a moving story that has stuck in my mind for hours)

  7. Evelyn (ehoward@si.rr.com)

    Hard to believe a whole year has gone by … that’s how time with children goes … in a flash.

  8. Lilli

    How Beautiful! You and Rich will show us how elastic one’s heart can be, from the fullness of loving one child, to the heartbreak of ‘losing’ him, to the tender love of a new child. It’s a process most of us don’t go through, but how much we would learn about what we’re capable of, if we did :)

  9. Anonymous

    I am a long time lurker, former psychologist, special ed teacher and administrator of a center for abused children. I am now disabled. I have literally been overcome with joy and tears when I read your stories about Baby.

    I remember wondering if I “made a difference.” In retrospect, I think we do, when we love these birds with broken wings, If nothing else, they know there is something different. They experience someone who is able to love.

    In my imagination, I went to Silver Bella with you and cried when I heard of your pain.

    No one can say that these blogs don’t connect us deeply, even if you don’t even know my name!

    Please know you are in my prayers and I am excited about your upcoming changes.

    Sue Reaney

    P.S. And I adore your craft work! I am primarily a jewelry/beaded. Art heals!

  10. LindaSonia

    I’m sure the seed of your love is firmly etched in the clean slate of Baby’s mind – there to grow and flourish for a day or time he may need it – a foundation of goodness and light in a sometimes scary world. You did that – Amy & Rich – no greater gift can there be.

    Blessings to you both and praying another little soul finds its way to you when it needs you most. LindaSonia

  11. bev

    I know youare one of the best things to happen to baby…you have so much love to give. His life is richer for having the both of you in it…bless you all.
    Have a fabulous trip.

  12. becky

    so beautiful, as everyone else has said. it makes me so sad to think of this baby (and many others!) sitting there hungry and unable to express it…that’s what makes you and rich special…being able to read his needs. i hope you open your heart again and again! it’s great to have people like you in this world. i’m so pleased to have known you.

  13. rebecca sower

    amy, I am SO glad I dropped by your blog today…thank you for sharing this. sending love, rebecca